Dead or Alive 5: Last Round (XB1) Review

That’s a lot of costumes!

There are a lot of games getting second chances on this new round of consoles. Whether that is due to the fact that they are easy ports which tend to turn a profit, or that these systems launched a year too early and platform holders need more games is anyone’s guess. The latest title to see the “HD” treatment is Dead or Alive 5. The titular fighter from Team Ninja has returned with blistering fast game play, two new characters, and of course a host of scandalous outfits.

Dead or Alive 5: Last Round comes in two flavors, the full game for $39.99 and a download-only version called Core Fighters. The weird separation between consoles is that Core Fighters is free on PS4, and $4.99 (for the first week, $9.99 after) on XB1. I believe the XB1 version gives players two extra fighters in the rotation, but it is still odd. This pseudo free-to-play model is becoming more common with fighting games, and I actually really enjoy it.

MSRP: $39.99
Platforms: PS4, PS3, XB1, 360, PC
Price I’d Pay: $39.99
Cost of DLC: Over $200

The structure of the game is however, a bit broken. I bought a disc copy in addition to the digital one we received for review. Once I slipped the disc in it queued up over 40 items to install. This caused my XB1 to have a fit.

The way it works is that every single item in the game is installed separately, so for example each character, costume, and mode is installed ala cart. So imagine my surprise when I went to download all the costumes from the store only to crash my XB1 after dumping over 250 items into the download queue.

It’s kind of a mess, and the design is so they can sell players Core Fighters and offer them everything individually. I get it, but it needs a lot of work from the design perspective. There are also reports of game crashing bugs in the Xbox versions, but I have yet to experience them myself.

Still the core package is what matters, and for $40 this one comes with more than enough. There are robust tutorials, player-specific combo challenges, and a roster of characters and costumes on the disc that rival any other fighter on the market. The story mode is still super ridiculous, but the core fighting is fast and fun. This is one of the few fighting games I actually enjoy playing as almost every character. The two new additions Hanako and Raidou round out the cast nicely, and I never got a chance to check out Marie Rose and Nyotengu when they released for Ultimate.

Visually this game benefits from the increased resolution. Frame rate is still blistering, and the speed is impressive. I had forgotten how good Dead or Alive 5 looked in motion. For those that have never played the series, this is a 3D fighter with massive stages, and multi-tiered arenas. Characters have a unique look to them, and the aesthetic is crisp. As I also mentioned, there are simply a ton of costumes for all of the characters, and plenty more to buy for those so inclined.

Honoka is the latest girl in the DoA universe.

Online remains untouched and worked well in my few sessions. Throwdowns can still be turned on for incoming challenges and the lobby system still feels a bit underwhelming. I do love the fact that I could play offline with simulated online lag, it helps practice for those serious about playing competitively.

If there is one thing that sours the experience it is the DLC model. There are hundreds of costumes to purchase, and the store on XB1 is confusing. The PSN version fares much better with the ability to sort by theme, type, and character. The XB1 store is a mess of missing images and confusing menus. There is a massive pack that includes all previous DLC; it is $93. Then there is a costume pass for another $93 for future costumes. Yeah that is a bit excessive.

Outside of a few issues though Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is still a super enjoyable fighting game. There is a superb amount of content, and for those not wanting to invest fully, Core Fighters is a great alternative to check out what it has to offer.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Visuals are crisp and slick
  • Lots of content on the disc
  • New characters are fun
  • That DLC model
  • Weird install method on XB1
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.